I don’t have a lot of “real-life” friends.
Before I go on, let me preface this post with the fact that I’m making an observation, and not issuing a self-deprecating, self-loathing, personal rant focused on attacking my own self-esteem. God know I make a habit of this far too often, but it’s simply something I’m observing.
But yes, I do not have many “real-life” friends and I am noticing that I have lost contact or lost touch with many online friends, as well. It’s something I have grown to accept as a reality of my life and a reality of the ways I have handled my own mental health. And tonight, I noticed something that had me wondering how much of my behavior has impacted my friendships over the years. Granted, some things I think are probably normal – like losing touch with someone because of distance and time. But others, I can’t help but assume my negativity and outlook on life has driven some away. Sometimes, I know that my behaviors have directly caused me to lose contact with people – it’s an inevitability when you continue to remove your blogs and remove yourself away from people. It’s self-defeating and I am well aware of it.
But, as I look at my real-life friendships, I can see how much I have withdrawn from people in life. I don’t like that I’ve done this. I don’t like that I have intentionally avoided social situations because of my own self-perceived embarrassment of my life. I don’t like that I have assumed people would not like me or would be driven away by the things I have not liked about myself – it’s like assuming they are incapable of accepting me the way I am. I have not given people the benefit of the doubt that they can choose for themselves if they like me or not; I made the decision for them in a lot of ways. I removed myself…subtly, over time. A lot of people probably don’t even realize it. I’ve done this with family members too.
I look at my friendships online and I can see myself do the same. How many blogs have I had and deleted? On some level, I look at what I write online and have a change of heart about my thoughts and feelings and become embarrassed by what I write and want to take a complete 180 degree turn from what I present. And, obviously, I assume people will no longer like me or that I don’t want to conflict my “real life” with my “online” life and I run away, scared. I take other people’s decision making ability to like me or not away from them and I assume that I am not likeable.
As I write this, I recall a conflict I had with a friend I had made on Twitter. One day, she got to see me at one of my worst moments – a complete self-deprecating, self-degrading, self-loathing and self-directed tirade of complete negativity. She saw me melt completely away with myself and, at the time, chose to remove me as a friend and contact. Her feeling was that my negativity was so overwhelming it was impacting her own emotions and feelings. Truthfully, she was right. I was toxic and the toxicity had no boundaries. And I went so far as to encourage her to not be associated with me. Of course, I apologized and expressed that I was wrong – and I was – and because she is the type of person to see the good in people, she easily forgave me. And I made a promise to focus on positivity when I am speaking with her.
But being positive is not something I have been used to doing for quite some time. And tonight, as I contemplate the friendships I have had – both online and in “real” life, I can’t help but think my toxic-negativity has created the rifts I see, or the lack of friendships I experience. I don’t deny the reality of this aspect of my personality, and it is something I am actively working on improving, but it makes me sad in a way. Sad for the actions and behaviors I may have displayed.
It makes me feel sorrow that even seeing the results of my attitude, there was nothing I felt I could do to change it. It’s almost like I’m making an excuse, but it is more like the feelings I experience while it’s happening. I understand my actions are mine and I own them, but there is like an out of the body experience going on when these things occur and I feel like I’m looking upon it from outside, but I can’t get in to stop or hinder my negativity – it’s like a chain reaction that can’t stop once it begins.
But, I come back into myself, and can see the friendships I have chased away…